Breen began calling Knicks games in 1992, first on WFAN radio before moving to TV at MSG Network in 1997. He has stayed at the network since then, partnering with Knicks legend and Hall of Fame player Walt “Clyde” Frazier to form a fan-favorite broadcasting duo. Since 2006, Breen has also been the lead play-by-play announcer for ESPN’s and ABC’s nationally televised NBA games, including the NBA Finals, which he has called for a record 14 straight seasons.
A native of Yonkers, New York, Breen got his start in broadcasting as an undergraduate at Fordham.
“One of the main reasons I went to Fordham was WFUV,” he told FORDHAM magazine in 2012, referring to the University’s public media station, which has been a training ground for generations of well-known sports broadcasters starting with Vin Scully, a 1949 Fordham graduate. “I can’t think of anything that could have better trained me for my career.”
Breen recently told the New York Post that his signature on-air call—“Bang!”—was something he first tested at Fordham.
“When we weren’t doing games, I was in the stands as a student,’’ Breen said. “When a Fordham player made a shot, I would scream, ‘Bang.’ I tried it on air as a student couple of times. I said, ‘This doesn’t work. I don’t really like it.’ … Then I went back to it when I started doing TV and felt it was a nice, concise way in a big moment. You say a one-syllable word and the crowd rises and you don’t have to scream over it. One easy word. I’m from the Vin Scully … school of conciseness. It worked with a big, loud crowd.”
Breen is the third Fordham graduate and fourth member of the Fordham family to earn the Hall of Fame’s Gowdy Award, which recognizes members of the electronic and print media for “outstanding contributions to basketball.”
John Andariese, FCRH ’60, one of Breen’s former Knicks broadcasting partners at MSG Network (and a star player at Fordham during the late 1950s), received the honor in 2014. Malcolm Moran, FCRH ’75, who was a sports reporter and columnist at The New York Times for nearly 20 years, and later wrote for USA Today, among other newspapers, won the award in 2007. Like Breen, Moran, who is now the director of the Sports Capital Journalism Program at Indiana University, got his start at WFUV. And legendary broadcaster Marty Glickman, who mentored and advised students at WFUV for 12 years, from 1988 to 2000, won the award in 1991.